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In a wholly expected move, the Board of Elections and Ethics today released a decision rejecting a proposed ballot measure that aims to prohibit same-sex marriages.

The initiative, sponsored by a group including Bishop Harry Jackson, the Rev. Walter E. Fauntroy, ANC member Bob King, and others, would establish that “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in the District of Columbia.”

The rationale for the board’s decision, according to a press release, is such: “Under current law, the District recognizes as valid same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions. The Board concludes that that Marriage Initiative of 2009 would, if passed, strip same-sex couples who have entered into such marriages of rights afforded to them by that recognition.” And that would authorize discrimination prohibited under the District of Columbia Human Rights Act.

Hence, no vote. You can read the board’s decision in full [PDF]. The initiative’s sponsors can appeal to the D.C. Superior Court (which rejected an earlier attempt at a gay marriage referendum), and on to the D.C. Court of Appeals.

Says board chair Errol Arthur in a statement: “We have considered all of the testimony presented to the Board and understand the desire to place this question on the ballot….However, the laws of the District of Columbia preclude us from allowing this initiative to move forward.”